Connie Mack World Series qualifying tournament schedules are set
FARMINGTON − West Palm Beach, Florida will be the newest city to host a qualifying tournament for the upcoming Connie Mack World Series.
Several qualifying tournaments are hosted around the the country, the addition of a tournament in Florida brings the number of states hosting qualifying events to seven.
The creation of a tournament in Florida reduces the number of teams receiving automatic bids to the CMWS from five to four, with defending champion Midland (Ohio) joining the Southern California Renegades, the D-Bat (Dallas, Texas) United Club, the Don Mattingly World Series winners and the host team as the only teams getting an exclusive invitation to compete in the World Series.
The Albuquerque Baseball Academy's automatic bid from last year will not be renewed, according to Shannon Enfield, executive Vice-President of the American Amateur Baseball Congress. The elimination of that automatic bid opened the door for a team to get into the World Series by winning a tournament.
"There were talks with a company in Virginia to get a qualifying tournament hosted there, but that fell through and it opened the door for the tournament in Florida, which we expect will attract quite a few teams from across the southeast part of the country," Enfield said.
The qualifying tournament in West Palm Beach will be the first scheduled event leading up to the CMWS, which will open across Farmington on Friday, July 21. There are also qualifying tournaments scheduled for Texas, Colorado, Missouri, California, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
The West Palm Beach tournament will begin play on June 2, with the the South Plains Tournament in Enid, Oklahoma set to begin on July 6.
"I'm very happy with the way it worked out," Enfield said. "Our numbers of teams is rising every year and that means these tournaments should have a number of very quality teams."
For the second year in a row, the Don Mattingly World Series winners from last year will be represented in the CMWS. Dulin's Dodgers, also hailing from Texas, will be back in Farmington this summer. The Don Mattingly World Series is for amateur baseball players under the age of 17, with the CMWS representing baseball players a year older.
The 2023 Don Mattingly World Series, which will be held in July in Melissa, Texas, winners will receive an automatic bid into the 2024 CMWS according to Enfield.
"And that's something (the AABC) has been trying to do with all our younger-aged tournament winners is to ensure those teams can come back into the next year's corresponding event with an automatic bid," Enfield said. "With the arrangement of the Don Mattingly series being new last year, it all will start to fall into the right timeframe next year."
The Midland baseball team, which wrapped up its 17th CMWS title last summer with a dramatic 9-8 win over D-Bat United, once again figures to be a strong presence in this summer's tournament.
"They've (Midland) committed so many of their underage clubs to the AABC World Series events, and their level of success makes them receiving an automatic bid kind of a no-brainer," Enfield said.
The Albuquerque Baseball Academy, which has already committed to compete in both the qualifying tournament in Denver as well as in Enid, might still be represented in the CMWS this summer.
Enid is the host city of the Enid Majors, which capped off a perfect season by winning the 2021 CMWS, also beating D-Bat United in the championship game. The success of the Majors is one of the reasons for the success and visibility of that qualifying tournament.
"That tournament in Oklahoma has jumped in size from 16 to 32 teams," Enfield said. "The amount of interest in qualifying here has grown immensely and I'm seeing quite a bit of movement in that region for the qualifier."
For more information about the Connie Mack World Series or any of the qualifying tournaments for the event, check out the AABC website.
This article originally appeared on Farmington Daily Times: Qualifying tournaments begin in early June for 2023 World Series